Consumers spend billions on online shopping every year, with the American e-commerce market alone reaching 2.3 trillion dollars. This growing industry also attracts opportunistic thieves. Knowing what to look out for and how to protect yourself online can help you avoid online shopping scams and fraud.
Common Online Threats
‘Phishing’ and ‘identity theft’ are the most common threats. Phishing often comes through convincing emails, leading you to fake e-commerce sites. Identity theft, on the other hand, targets specific users and requires less action on your part.
Preventing Identity Theft
Identity theft often occurs through Trojans or viruses. But don’t worry, read on to learn how to protect yourself.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
One of the most effective ways to secure your online accounts is through Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring two or more verification methods: something you know (password), something you have (a phone), or something you are (fingerprint). This makes it harder for attackers to gain access to your accounts.
Stick to Known Shops
Stick to familiar shops. If unsure, research the company and read reviews to make an educated decision. This approach may not favour independent websites, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Check for HTTP and Padlock Symbol
Look for HTTP in the web address or a padlock symbol. These indicate that the website encrypts data, making it secure.
Be Cautious with Free Wifi
Free wifi is tempting but risky. Hackers often set up fake networks. Always verify the source and avoid sharing personal or financial information over these networks.
Keep Your Software Updated
Updated antivirus software can protect you from spyware, malware, and viruses. If you can’t afford one, a VPN service is a good alternative.
Choose Strong Passwords
Don’t use the same password for all your logins. Use phrases or a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers. Password managers like ‘Keeper’ can help you manage multiple passwords securely.
Monitor Your Bank Account
Stay in touch with your bank to quickly address any suspicious activities. This can also help with insurance claims or rebates.
Staying safe online requires vigilance and knowledge. You don’t need to be paranoid, just informed and cautious. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
For more information on how to protect yourself online, consider our range of Product Range.